As of a minute after midnight on Monday, the United States banned all foreign visitors from southern Africa, but so far has done nothing to detect cases that may have reached the country, according to Reuters. . Although President Biden announced the new restrictions on Monday on Friday, health officials did not mandate any new testing or tracing measures related to Super mutant Omicron variant for visitors scrambling to get in before today’s deadline.
The US required all airline passengers arriving from abroad to provide proof of vaccinations or proof of a negative COVID test, but so did the Netherlands, where health officials later found out. 61 positive cases, of which 13 are Omicron, when testing all 600 passengers on two flights from South Africa on Friday. The United States does not require any incoming passengers to be screened on arrival.
That may not bode well for the spread of Omicron, which may or may not be as bad as panic expecters predicted. The World Health Organization on Monday issued a warning to prepare for the worst, but also encouraged countries to shut down southern Africa.
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are related to their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said in a statement. “The overall global risk associated with the new variant … is assessed to be very high.”
A day earlier, however, the WHO appeared to have sent a mixed message in criticizing countries over travel bans that are sure to hit economies in Africa. “Omicron shows why the world needs a new pandemic accord: Our current system discourages countries from warning others of threats that are certain to land on our shores.” them,” the WHO tweeted.
At the same time, the head of the organization also admits that too little is known about this potentially horrible – or benign – variant. WHO Director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “We still don’t know if Omicron is involved in many other things: transmission, severe #COVID19, disease, risk of reinfection, risk of vaccine evasion or not”. “Scientists at WHO and around are working urgently to answer these questions.”
To date, no deaths have been reported due to the Omicron variant.
And while those questions are being answered, new cases continue to emerge. Portuguese health authorities announced on Monday that they had found 13 cases of the Omicron variant in a Lisbon football club after one of the players had a recent trip to South Africa. They did not say whether the club carried out regular testing or whether affected players were vaccinated.
Two of the people forced to quarantine in Amsterdam people who tested positive for COVID-19 from KLM flights from South Africa were arrested after they made a daring escape from their quarantine hotel. They were arrested after boarding a flight to Spain. Their Spanish vaccine certificate was all they needed to book the flight despite being tested positive by Dutch health authorities. It is unknown if they have an Omicron variant.
Around the world, cases keep popping up, from Canada to Hong Kong. No cases have been reported in the US, but it is almost certain to be, especially given the fact that no additional testing has been carried out from the dozens of flights that landed before Monday’s ban. .
https://www.thedailybeast.com/if-omicron-is-so-risky-why-didnt-the-us-test-travelers-upon-arrival-before-it-banned-them?source=articles&via=rss If Omicron Is So Dangerous, Why Don’t U.S. Travelers Check Visitors On Arrival Before Banning Them?